Third wave of feminism

Analyzing Third Wave Feminism

Engendering Change: What's Up with Third Wave Feminism?

By Krista Jacob.

A new kind of activism is brewing among young women - "Third Wave Feminism." Many of us, inspired by larger theoretical discussions about race and sexuality, have started to place a greater emphasis on establishing multiracial alliances among women. Young women celebrate pluralities

The movement seeks to broaden the parameters of feminism. Initially attracted to third wave feminism through the writings and activism of Rebecca Walker and Amy Richards, two well known third wave feminists, I was impressed by a central tenet of third wave feminism:

Include certain groups of women who have previously been excluded as a result of race, class, and sexual orientation prejudice.

Third wave feminism provides a forum for illuminating the multifaceted experiences of young women - a group that is consistently misrepresented by older generations, the mainstream media, and other avenues. Using young women's personal testimonies and autobiographical accounts, we reveal young women struggling to incorporate the lessons from the women's movement of the 60's and 70's (second wave feminism) into their own unique, lived experiences.

They show us that young women are celebrating their pluralities, embracing their personal and political contradictions: (ie: choosing to wear makeup while maintaining a critical stance toward the misogyny and racism inherent in the cosmetic industry), and refusing to follow a feminist party line.

The "feminist party line" refers to what many young feminists perceive to be constrictive and unfair expectations set up by certain mainstream definitions of feminism, such as you can't:

wear makeup, shave your legs, wear dresses, have a traditional wedding, or celebrate your femininity

and still be considered a "feminist."

The underlying assumption is that these choices somehow compromise your feminist politics and are reflective of "selling out" to patriarchal values.

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